Trenton – Legislation sponsored by Senate Education Chair M. Teresa Ruiz and Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez, which would establish a Commission on Latino and Hispanic Heritage in the Department of Education, cleared the Senate Education Committee.
“It is time that we make a genuine effort at studying and recognizing the ways the Latinx community has enriched our history,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “This commission will be tasked with educating our youth on Latinx heritage and culture and help ensure that our curriculums accurately reflect the vibrancy and cultural mosaic that is New Jersey. Our country’s legacy was built on these traditions and I am excited that we will continue to uplift and honor the values that have strengthened our state and our country.”
The bill, S-3327, would establish the commission to survey the existing Latino and Hispanic cultural and education programs in the state. It would aid in creating new programs and coordinating events as well as compiling a list of possible guest speakers.
“The national climate right now and the way the president discusses minorities is extremely harmful,” said Senator Cruz-Perez (D-Camden/Gloucester). “Now, more than ever, it is crucial that we teach our youngest learners to value diversity and respect other cultures.”
The commission is modeled after existing commissions within the Department of Education which ensure the cultural contributions and history of certain groups of people are properly explored within school curriculum and activities.
The bill was released from committee by a vote of 6-0, and next heads to the full Senate for further consideration.